Saturday, March 12, 2011

We don't need GM food, just biodiverse farms

Activist Vandana Shiva in the Scavenger via Climate Storytellers: …Genetic engineering is embedded in an industrial model of agriculture based on fossil fuels. It is falsely being offered as a magic bullet for dealing with climate change.

…GM crops do not produce more. While Monsanto claims its GMO Bt cotton gives 1500 Kg/acre, the average is 300–400 Kg/acre. The claim to increased yield is false because yield, like climate resilience is a multi–genetic trait. Introducing toxins into a plant through herbicide resistance or Bt. Toxin increases the “yield” of toxins, not of food or nutrition.

Even the nutrition argument is manipulated. Golden rice genetically engineered to increase Vitamin A produces 70 times less Vitamin A than available alternatives such as coriander leaves and curry leaves. The false claim of higher food production has been dislodged by a recent study titled, Failure to Yield by Dr. Doug Gurian Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who was former biotech specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and former adviser on GM to the U.S Food and Drug Administration.

Sherman states, “Let us be clear. There are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.”

…Monsanto’s GMOs, which are either Round Up Ready crops or Bt toxin crops do not conserve resources. They demand more water, they destroy biodiversity and they increase toxics in farming. Pesticide use has increased 13 times as a result of the use Bt cotton seeds in the region of Vidharbha, India.

Monsanto’s GMOs do not improve farmers’ lives. They have pushed farmers to suicide. 200,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide in the last decade. 84% of the suicides in Vidharbha, the region with highest suicides are linked to debt created by Bt–cotton. GMOs are non–renewable, while the open pollinated varieties that farmers have bred are renewable and can be saved year to year. The price of cotton seed was Rs 7/kg. Bt cotton seed price jumped to Rs 1,700/kg.

This is neither ecological nor economic or social sustainability. It is ecocide and genocide….

GMO maize test, Bourgouin-Jallieu, Isère, France, shot by Yann Forget, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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